As with anything involving marine life and nuclear reactors, there is bad news, and then there is cold-comfort news.The bad news is, of course, is that Japan’s horribly damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant has been dumping radioactive material into the sea, which has made people worry that Japanese seafood is unsafe for consumption.
But as Bloomberg reports, scientists are absolutely convinced that the radioactive waters pose no long-term health threat.
Because — and this would be the cold-comfort news — since 1952, England’s Sellafield nuclear-waste plant has been discharging 44 times more cesium-137 (“one of the most harmful radioactive materials to humans”) into the Irish Sea than the material that’s leaked from the Japanese reactor over the past month. And despite that, studies done over the past 15 years have shown that seafood-consumers in Sellafield’s vicinity have been ingesting half the recommended limit of radiation.
All of which has led scientists to conclude that a ban on Japanese seafood is unnecessary. And given all of the other contaminants found in seafood these days — heavy metals, right this way! — what’s a little radiation?
Incidentally, none of this makes it OK to eat bluefin tuna sushi.
[Via Grub Street]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 21, 2011